Saturday, August 30, 2014

What is Toastmasters? From the Outsider's Point of View

I was searching the net on a reputable company that teaches  English Proficiency class when I stumbled upon a club called toastmasters through individuals recommending them on forums. Doing my job as a researcher, naks, I checked on this so-called club. Quoting from 

"Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. 
Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has more than 313,000 members in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries.  
Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience."

Joining them, I need to search a club that is near my place and fit my schedule. Here's where I got Elite Toastmasters Club information. To cut the story short, I, together with my friend, went there twice as guests/observers.

What happens during the meeting?

The meeting usually starts with the invocation, toastmasters' promise and welcoming remarks. In this portion, members and guests introduce themselves. They assigned some individuals to monitor the Uh's of each member and time of each speech. On our 1st visit, they have this AHA moment, where you share anything you've recently discovered or something like a trivia.

Move on to the next program is the impromptu speech. The member that prepares topics -usually in a form of a question or a saying, will call another member to expound them by using speech patterns. 

After impromptu, here comes the prepared speech. The speech should meet the objectives provided in the program. I think this comes with a level of difficulty. I've seen one where she has to use a projector, some use their body languange to project ideas and most of them almost memorized their speech.

Once all the speaking engagements finish, it is time to evaluate the program. Each speaker has an assigned evaluator. The evaluators provide them with what they think are the speakers' good points as well as their recommendations to improve their speaking skills. The overall evaluator evaluates  everything,  from how the program is organized to the food prepared and the venue used.

My observations

We were welcomed and treated on the club as if we were a member. They joined us on the AHA moment and impromptu speech.  Even at  the start of the program, we felt that they have a light environment, so no pressure at all. The good thing in this club, most of the members are at my age-range so you don't feel OP.  As my friend and I discussed the meeting, we couldn't agree more that some members have mastered their English diction and grammar even in the way they present  their speeches. And, just like how they evaluate themselves, they also have some rooms for improvement that I actually forgot to mention during our evaluation. Both meetings were finished late. They can probably start it as early as 6:30 or so.

At the end of this long post, will this club provide me with what I need? I do think so. Seeing their member performs every responsibilities assigned to them and taking every comment in a lighter note, this I know are evidences that they do can help me in improving what I have now, like social engagements, English proficiency, public speaking and leadership skill. I may not join now, but I will come back again.

To those who are interested to join, here's their contact details:

Elite Toastmasters Club
Dining Lab, STI, Muñoz, Quezon City
Schedule: every 1st and 3nd week of Friday, 7 to 9PM
Mobile: 09325267796

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